To many of us, service robots often mean robots that assist the elderly, or help with the rehabilitation of medical patients. But the range of services that robots can perform is extremely broad. Some are involved in agricultural tasks that are either dangerous or rough on humans, such as weed-pulling and harvesting crops. Others collect trash and garbage, or work in recycling to sort waste from usable, reclaimable materials.
In security and law enforcement, there are simple robots that autonomously "walk" a beat looking for sensor readings that raise an alarm, as well as telepresence robots that can give disabled police or veterans jobs as remote patrol officers. Other robots, shaped like fish, swim in schools to detect polluting chemicals in seawater, and one robot is being developed to go into orbit as a combined mobile gas station and spacecraft mechanic.
Click on the photo below to check them out.
Robotic fish that swim in schools and cooperate using artificial intelligence to detect and identify pollution in seawater have been created by SHOAL, an EU-funded group of researchers led by BMT Group. The goal is to cut the time required to detect pollution in ports and other aquatic areas from weeks to seconds, using the robotic fishes' chemical sensors for onsite analysis. The robots can avoid obstacles, determine where to look for pollution using mapping, locate its source, maintain a maximum communication distance from the rest of the school, send data underwater back to a base station, and return to it for recharging. (Source: BMT Group)
SparkyWatt, I agree. The slideshow was not impressive due to the unrealistic designs being proposed. I'm a firm believer that design concepts need to be validated using functional prototypes instead of "What If" imagery. Its about practicality thru functionality that truly brings a design to life.
Actually, I was disappointed with this post. There are a lot of great concepts here, but very little that actually works. This points to some great directions that we can try to go, but it doesn't show much that we are actually doing. People can tout concepts all day, and even have a good idea about how to make them work, but that is a long step from having a usable system.
Ann and nadinej, Very nice slideshow. These robots look more artistic than functional. I'm. wondering what stage of robotic develeopment these machines are at? Some of them look like non functional machines instead of operating robots.
Wow, I think that tractor's cool, Ann. Actually, it's better than the one I was referring to. We published an article about ithe other one a few years back. Unfortunately, the photos seem to have disappeared.
Cabe, I wouldn't want a gardening bot either. I like to get my hands dirty--shades of my toddler-era mudpie making--and connect with green things. But did you mean the CROPS harvesting robot or the Blue River weed puller? Neither one was for home gardening. Besides, I'm all for someone else pulling weeds.
I love the fact that robotics has gotten into high school competitions. I've seen tons of news items about those. I
Chuck, I found pictures of a John Deere walking tractor at this link: http://www.theoldrobots.com/Walking-Robot2.html Don't know if this is the same one you mentioned, but in any case, it's sufficiently creepy: looks like a big bug to me.
The problem with the robots and the controls is that all of that software is written by programmers. And, really, we all know it, programmers are NOT normal people. Actually, it goes way beyond that, which is to say that the problem will always be t6hat the computer systems don't know how to handle the exceptions. Even when they believe that all possible exceptions are covered, up pops another one. On top of that, artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity. Of course, when designers attempt to prevent problems from dumb users any given system becomes much less useful, and often much less intuitive as well.
There is currently much discussion around the term "platform," which may be preceded by the adjectives "mobile," "wearable," "medical," "healthcare," etc. However, regardless of the platform being discussed, they usually have one key aspect in common: They tend to be wireless. So, why is this one aspect so fairly universal? The answer is convenience.
Everyone has a MEMS story. For most of us it’s probably the airbag that saved our lives or the life of a loved one. Perhaps it’s the tire pressure sensor that alerted us about deflation before we were stranded alone on a dark muddy road.
Bioimimicry is not merely a helpful design tool -- it also encourages designers to think not only about how to solve design problems by imitating nature, but how to make the products, materials, and systems they design more ecologically sound and nature-friendly.
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